Seventy-two percent of CIOs and CTOs in the GCC region agree digital transformation investments are key to their success and 52 per cent expect to see return-on-investment (ROI) in one to two years, underlining the urgency for change, a report said.
However, a staggering 76 per cent of respondents admit that up to 50 per cent of their licensed enterprise software applications go unused, suggesting there is significant room to optimise existing business applications, according to The 2022 IT Buyer Sentiment Survey released by Rimini Street, a global provider of enterprise software products and services.
“The findings in the GCC are very similar to a global study we did in early 2020 with CFOs, who also say digital transformation investments are critical to their success,” said Emmanuelle Hose, Group Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Rimini Street.
“The major question facing GCC CIOs and CTOs is, ‘What is the best route to achieve modernisation?’ There are doubts about the cloud and its ability to offer a smooth transition. The report indicates there are opportunities to optimise existing applications and innovate at the edge, which we can help clients with by offering unified support so that they can focus on change.”
Impatience to Innovate
Across the region 15 per cent of respondents say digital transformation is their number one priority compared to other corporate priorities. This raises questions over the value of highly complex, disruptive migrations of core enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) equivalent; as such projects often take many years to complete.
Particularly, for large corporations in the GCC with multiple ERP systems on different versions, such wholesale change may impact productivity and revenue generation at a crucial time when growth is essential to long-term business sustainability. Increasingly, Rimini Street is seeing clients worldwide address the need for change while minimising disruption by innovating at the edge rather than attempting a ‘rip and replace’ of existing in-house applications.
CIOs and CTOs in the region want innovation with security and privacy protection as the number one priority for IT initiatives, followed by next-generation disruptive technology initiatives, risk management and compliance, and revenue-generating technology initiatives. The challenge is choosing a strategy that allows them to move with agility and at pace, targeting innovation where it will be most effective. For example, the survey highlighted managers’ concerns over losing their existing application customisations in any IT upgrade.
Rimini Street is finding its clients can address this issue by adopting its third-party support, as having the reassurance of Primary Support Engineers (PSE) with an average of 20 years of specialised experience means they can be confident that existing applications will be fully supported while they focus on transformation. Rimini Street enjoys a customer satisfaction rating higher than 4.9 out of 5.0 for case surveys, and guarantees 24/7/365 support with a maximum of 10-minute response times for critical (Priority 1) issues and an average response time of less than two minutes.
“We appreciate that most companies want and need to customise their ERP system for performance and differentiation, but often lack the right software vendor support, which does not typically include customisation support in standard maintenance programs. This forces the need to hire expensive, external consultants or dedicate internal resources to support business-critical, customised code,” said Taher Haj-Yousef, Regional Manager Middle East, Rimini Street.
“By switching to third party support, clients alleviate these challenges and avoid highly disruptive change. It also demonstrates that there is a clear alternative path to modernisation by optimising existing applications and innovating at the edge.”
The way forward
The survey further suggests CIOs and CTOs are considering a variety of approaches to modernising their enterprise application environments. Thirty per cent plan to migrate to the cloud with a hybrid cloud model, while 28 per cent plan to ‘lift and shift’ to a public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud or AWS. Twenty six per cent are planning to migrate to a private cloud, but only 16 per cent are considering a ‘rip and replace’ migration, which would have them switch from their existing in-house applications to the SaaS equivalent of their current applications.
More than half are considering a move to a hosted cloud environment for their internally run enterprise applications but intend to move away from their existing vendor.
This shows that there are a variety of ways to modernise enterprise IT environments, often without requiring the disruption of replacing stable existing business applications. Further, it underlines the point that customers do not feel obliged to stay on the migration path dictated by the software vendors and are looking for alternative approaches. By switching to third party support, clients further enhance their independence to make decisions about transformation against a timeline that suits their business needs.